‘Law & Order: SVU’: What Murphy’s Return Means for Rollins and Carisi?

by Allison Hambrick
Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Law & Order: SVU fans everywhere rejoiced when the slow burn between Detective Amanda Rollins and ADA Dominick Carisi resulted in a kiss.

Rollins, played by Kelli Giddish, has a complicated past. Her father was abusive, and her lack of emotional availability is a common theme in her character arc. That’s why it is unsurprising that she would fall for someone like Lieutenant Declan Murphy. An undercover investigator, Murphy is often away on assignment. As a result, he is physically unavailable most of the time. That makes it easier for Rollins to avoid being vulnerable.

After meeting in season 15, the two began an offscreen relationship. Murphy’s actual appearances on the show are few and far between. A season 17 episode sees him returning from an undercover assignment because Rollins is pregnant. Though he offers to step up, Rollins declines. They go their separate ways, and Murphy is largely uninvolved in his daughter’s life.

Enter Carisi. Previously a detective on the series, Carisi, played by Peter Scanavino, became an ADA in season 21. He is assigned to the SVU unit, where he works with his former peers. This allows his relationship with Rollins to continue. In many ways, Carisi contrasts with Murphy. The former encourages Rollins to open herself up more. Additionally, he makes an effort to be there for her daughters, too.

Now, after Murphy returned to SVU in “Silent Night, Hateful Night,” fans worry about the potential damage this could do to the romance between Rollins and Carisi. One user on the SVU subreddit wrote: “I would like Declan to connect with his daughter but I don’t want him and Amanda together or Amanda and Sonny (Carisi) to break up.” 

Law & Order: SVU: Murphy Fathers Rollins’s Daughter

Interestingly, Murphy and Carisi have a history of their own. Both Carisi and Murphy participated in undercover investigations in the “Undercover Mother.” Carisi’s involvement jeopardizes Murphy’s long-term investigation of a sex trafficking ring. Though there are no longer-term ramifications, it became clear that the two did not get along. This will likely carry over now that Murphy may be stepping back into Rollins’s life.

In his recent return, Murphy told Rollins: “for me to leave like that, that was the biggest mistake of my life.” He then asked her if she was seeing anyone. Work interrupted them, and Rollins never told Murphy about Carisi onscreen. While this could lead to a romantic rivalry, it is just as likely to drive a wedge between Rollins’s children and Carisi.

Even so, Scanavino seems unfazed. Though the SVU actor was tight-lipped regarding how the relationship will develop, he said: “I don’t see how it would be anything contentious or dramatic, but who knows? It’s the name of the game with this show. So, it could be. I don’t know.”